It was news when Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) announced that he had changed his mind on marriage equality — from against to for — after disclosing that his son is gay. (It took a couple of years, but better late than never, etc.)
Not so with Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ).
In a recent interview with 3TV, Salmon said that while he has a son who is gay, he’s not a supporter of same-sex marriage.
“I’m just not there in believing in my heart,” said Salmon, adding, “My son is one of the most important people in my life. I love him more than I can say.”
Rep. Salmon has maintained a reputation as a staunch social conservative throughout his political career.
I don’t know anything at all about the dynamics between Matt Salmon Sr. and Jr., and it’s not my place to judge, but it occurs to me that if you’re a staunch social conservative — which brings to mind all that talk about family values and how important it is for parents to stand with their children at all costs — it is curious that Mr. Salmon qualifies his acceptance of his son in terms that sound like he’s more worried about losing his base of support in his congressional district than he is about what he believes in his heart about his son.
Sen. Portman took a risk by coming out, so to speak, in favor of marriage equality, but he also doesn’t have to face the voters next year. Mr. Salmon does. It would be really craven and would make a mockery of the Republican Party’s championing of family and character values if there was a political calculus in how GOP parents relate to their children. Except that it happens all the time.
On the other hand, it sounds like there’s a growing number of LGBT offspring in the Republican party. They should have jackets made.